Bronze Mannikin drying after a bath

The Bronze Mannikin (Lonchura cucullata), another escapee munia species from Africa, was spotted by Francis Yap in the Lorong Halus Wetland in July 2011. There was a flock of at least six birds.

Scaly-breasted Munias (Lonchura punctulata) were regularly released during certain religious festivities. However, this year there was an outbreak of bird flu in the countries that traditionally supplied these birds. This probably led to a cutoff in supplies. The Bronze Mannikin is probably a substitute from another country or countries.

The mannikin was caught on video by Francis Yap busy drying itself after a bath. This involved vigorously shaking its body to rid its feathers of water droplets, preening, obtaining oil from the preen gland just below the tail and scratching. Note the mannikin scratching its head. There are two methods that birds adopt in scratching – the direct and the indirect method.

The direct method LINK is when it raised its foot from under the wing, a usual case with terrestrial birds. This is compared to arboreal birds that scratch its head by extending its leg over the wing to reach the head LINK, the so-called indirect method.

Now which method do you think this mannikin adopts?

Francis Yap
Singapore
August 2011

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One Response

  1. Nice video! I was looking for any sign that the oil went from his beak to his foot (to rub on his head), but didn’t see that in this section.

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